In a bid to get us motivated to stay in shape and eat clean, some have been calling for a change in the way our food is labelled. The Chief Executive at the Royal Society of Public Health has suggested that our foods be labelled with the exercise equivalent needed to expend the calories taken in. This comes as a result of studies showing that two thirds of the UK public are now overweight or obese, with the current food labelling system doing little to change our love of fatty foods. So, many are hoping that once we know how hard we’d have to work to sweat off all that calorie-high food, we’ll think twice about what we eat. An interesting plan, but we wonder, does beer count as a food? We hope not.
Fitness fanatics from across England and Scotland are planning to come together in a bid to raise some cash for charity. Lee Welland is hoping to break the world record for the largest fitness circuit, beating the current record of 2,061 participants set in Australia. Part of the funds raised will go towards Georgie’s Gift, a charity set up in memory of 23-month-old Georgie Hall who sadly died from meningitis. The charity focuses on raising awareness of the disease and raising cash for the Meningitis Research Fund. According to the record organisers, the fitness circuit will need to last for at least 30 minutes to be considered a valid record attempt. Entrants will be asked to make a donation when registering to take part in the event, which will be held on Sunday May 1 at Ambleside Sports Club, with entertainment, food and games being arranged for the day as well. Good luck to all taking part!
We’ve been told a lot about fat, but did you know there are two different types? Apparently ‘good’ brown fat burns energy as heat, and those of us that hold a high amount of it are more likely to be of a healthy weight and without insulin issues. On the other hand, ‘bad’ white fat acts as a thermal insulator designed to protect our organs, but too much of the stuff can cause metabolic damage. Scientists at SBP Medical Discovery Institute have now discovered the existence of a protein complex able to convert the bad fat to good fat; white to brown. However, the complex mTORC1 can also encourage the growth of white fat cells – knowledge that has left researchers astounded. They’re now working on a way to use this magical little complex within the body to combat issues such as obesity and insulin resistance. Who knew fat was so complex?
If you’re looking for a little motivation to get you working out, look no further than nine-year-old Milla Bizzotto. She’s now become the youngest competitor to complete a 24-hour obstacle course race – designed by the US Navy – known as the Battlefrog Race BFX24, racing 36 miles, swimming eight kilometres and completing 25 obstacles. Having developed a love of fitness as a means to cope with being bullied, Bizzotto trained five days a week for three hours with her father, in order to set an example for the kids that bullied her. As the only competitor under 18, and weighing just 53 pounds, this determined young girl crawled under barbed wire, climbed ropes and scaled a 12-foot wall as part of the race, sleeping only between 2am and 6am during the event. As a child within the ‘iPad generation’ Milla hopes to encourage other kids her age to get up and go outside to play. Sounds like a lot of motivation for someone so small. Well done Milla!
It seems our shiny new fitness wearables will soon be outdated, and bypassed by the next best technological thing: electronic skin. Japanese researchers have recently come one step closer to creating ‘e-skin’ by employing flexible electronics that can be worn as a second skin. Takao Someya, head of research at University of Tokyo’s Graduate School of Engineering, has explained that an ultra-thin, ultra-flexible protective film is used to enable the wearing of polymer light emitting diode (PLED) display and organic photodetectors. This will hopefully form the base for the e-skin that will help athletes view their heart rate, sugar levels and work rate. This electronic skin would also allow the rest of us to monitor our body health metrics, while providing doctors with the ability to check patient data without using the current invasive medical equipment. Say goodbye to that fitness tracker.
As if there wasn’t enough to keep us busy, we can now take part in another unique fitness activity designed to whip us into shape in no time. The latest arrival to the London fitness scene is Equicise, and involves a £50,000 mechanical horse built using the latest technology. Founder of the service and horse riding veteran Carol Andrews managed to crowd fund the money needed to get this venture started, hoping to draw in fellow equestrianites looking to build up their strength and fitness. Membership for the service starts at £165 per month, costing £45 per additional hour of rides outside the membership allotment. Using the mechanical horse, members can perfect their position, improve their riding and ultimately increase their fitness levels. With several sensors on the head, neck and leg pads, it rides like a real horse, making it perfect for newbies looking to raise their riding confidence. It certainly makes the fitness scene a little more interesting!
With the recent, rapid rise in video-streaming services, it was only a matter of time before someone created one to join the fitness industry. Introducing Hoolio, the platform designed to transform the way we work out at home using free fitness videos and athome motivation. The standard service is currently free, with content ranging from body fat blitzing HIIT to stress-reducing yoga. For those of us with fitness wearables, Hoolio is also able to use these to project our fitness metrics on screen during the workout, removing the need for post-workout analysis. This platform has also recently released Hoolio Plus, offering content from wellknown personal trainers, including Rebecca Louise, Rory Knight and Josh Holland. For those of us getting tired of working out around others, this may be perfect; Hoolio Plus comes in at £3.99 a month, giving us less of an excuse to skip our workouts.
After noticing that those of us stuck at our desks all day generally don’t get enough exercise, some have tried to implement ‘treadmill desks’ to encourage office bodies to increase their daily movement. However, a new study has found that, although these desks do increase the amount we walk, they’re not so effective in allowing us to meet our exercise recommendations. Researchers at Oregon State University recruited 41 overweight people with desk jobs, assigning 21 to use treadmill desks while the rest used regular desks. Although the treadmill users walked about 1,600 more steps than the other group, none reported significant weight loss after 12 weeks. The workers were only able to use the treadmill desks for half the time they were supposed to due to scheduling issues and practicalities. So maybe desks on a treadmill isn’t the answer for unfit office bodies – regular exercise will have to do.
Have you ever wanted to run a marathon, without doing it all in one day? You now have the opportunity to join in on a month-long marathon initiative, organised by the British Heart Foundation over the month of May. The MyMarathon challenge is being backed by GB athlete and former Commonwealth Heptathlon Champion Louise Hazel, and hopes to raise money for life-saving heart research. With MyMarathon, participants can complete the 26.2 mile run in their own time, whether that be hours, days or weeks. Louise herself became a Running Champion for the British Heart Foundation after losing her father to heart disease at just 50 years old. Currently, heart and circulatory disease affects around 7 million people in the UK, making this marathon challenge a truly worthwhile initiative to raise those vital funds. The challenge is also designed to encourage more of us to get active, another effective method in the fight against heart disease. Where do we sign up?
Healthy eating has become a hot topic for discussion, with several different sides arguing for many different methods of eating for weight loss. One side suggests a reduction in carbs; this is also known as the Banting diet. Named after British man William Banting, this ‘diet’ has become much more popular in recent years as a result of Tim Noakes, founder of the Real Meal Revolution franchise. The low-carb recommendation is based on the premise that as humans, we have barely changed since the days of hunting and gathering; Noakes suggests that we just aren’t designed to run on high levels of carbs. He also talks of the ‘common misconception’ surrounding fat in our diet, suggesting it to be a necessary component of a healthy lifestyle. Having released a book and membership website, the Banting method has become especially popular in South Africa, with ‘Banting-friendly’ options being found on menus across the country. Carb-lovers may struggle with this one.